Wednesday, December 12

Fireman Sam-Do you have what it takes?

Open Day at Pontypandy Fire Station and Norman Price says he wants to be a fireman one day. (Disclaimer-Property of S4C / Hit Entertainment) Do you have what it takes to be a firefighter? 9:58

Driving the Fire SUV

Everybody wants to grow up to be a firefighter. Comedian Hannibal Burress wants to drive the fire SUV. Funny stand-up 1:23. Enjoy! Link repaired 2/20

Guess who's hiring???

Santa Rosa is in need of a FIRE PROTECTION SUPERVISOR. $6,155 - $7,985 per month. Open Until Filled First Screening Date: December 28, 2007 More detailed information may be obtained from the Human Resources Department , 100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 1, Santa Rosa, CA 95404; (707) 543-3060; via email at; or via the City website at

Santa Clara County is hiring a DEPUTY FIRE MARSHAL I and DEPUTY FIRE MARSHAL II Salary Range Deputy Fire Marshal I: $7,065.34 to $8,587.97 Salary Range Deputy Fire Marshal II: $7,976.02 to $9,694.90 Applications may be downloaded from the Santa Clara County Fire Department website at Deadline to Apply: Open until filled. (Second review of applications will be December 21, 2007.)

OCFA (Orange County Fire Authority) is looking for some entry level Fire Prevention Services Specialists Salary: $14.32 - $19.29 hourly
$2,482.13 - $3,343.60 monthly Closing Date/Time: Thu. 12/20/07 5:00 PM For more info check out

Wednesday, December 5

This just in.....More Jobs!!!

City of San Diego (CA) is looking for a Fire Recruit. Monthly salary (during the fire academy) $2458-2963 Requirements: 18, GED, EMT-I, CPR. Application period: 11/16/07-1/16/08. Go to for more info.

Arlington County Fire Department (Arlington VA)is accepting applications for Firefighter/EMT Trainee. Starting salary $44,363 per year. Min Quals: 18, GED, US resident & the ability to fog a mirror! Application period 12/7/07 til 1/18/08. For more info visit www.ArlingtonVa.US/Fire. To apply visit www.ArlingtonVa.US/Pers

Fire Safety First is a full spectrum Fire Protection Company serving Los Angeles & Orange Counties. They are accepting resumes for a full time Fire Protection Inspector. Min qual: 18 yrs, GED & Clean driving record. Fire TEchnology Core classes and Fire Academy graduate is desirable. E-Mail or Fax resume to: FAX 714-836-4120

The City of Vacaville Fire Department invites applications for the position of Fire Prevention Specialist. SALARY $4,564.77 - $5,548.50 Monthly $54,777.24 - $66,582.00 Annually OPENING DATE: 12/03/07 CLOSING DATE: 12/17/07 Applicants can apply on-line at

Monday, December 3

Jobs Jobs Jobs!!!

The city of West Sacramento wants entry level & senior level inspectors. Click here for the job announcement! $55,000 to aprox $76,000 per year plus bennies. Closes 12/28

City of Big Bear needs a Fire Prevention Officer too! SALARY: $49,254-$61,048
annually, plus excellent benefits. 3% @50 retirement and other competitive benefits..Open til filled. For full job announcement and application, contact Big Bear City Community Services District, Human Resources (909) 584-4021. Position is open until filled. Listing can also be found at

Orange County Fire Authority is in need of an Assistant Fire Marshal Salary: $5,749- 7,748/mo.Plus a competitive benefit package. As only on-line applications will be accepted for this recruitment, all interested candidates are invited to visit atheir website for complete application details. Final Filing Date: December 21, 2007.

Union City needs a Senior Haz Mat Inspector. Salary:$6,516 - $7,920/mth Plus 4.5% City Paid PERS Final Filing Date: December 21, 2007 For a copy of the job flyer click here.

Collins & Associates in Ventura are looking for a Fire & Life Safety Specialist. Salary is negotiable. Open until filled. Click here for the job flyer.

Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety is in need of a Fire Protection Engineer. $85,754.86 - $104,235.66 annually Closes Dec. 14. Click here for the job flyer.

Gilbert Arizona FD will be recruiting firefighters in February! The Town of Gilbert Fire Department is now preparing for the next Firefighter testing cycle. Application packets will be available February 22nd through the 29th, 2008. Completed application materials must be returned to the Town of Gilbert Personnel Department by 5:00 PM on the 29th. Application packets will not be available until February 22nd. For more info click here.

Student Paper's Fire-Alarm Article Leads Santa Ana College to Begin Hourly Patrols

Student Paper's Fire-Alarm Article Leads Santa Ana College to Begin Hourly Patrols -
Student Paper's Fire-Alarm Article Leads Santa Ana College to Begin Hourly Patrols
Santa Ana College has begun hourly fire patrols in seven buildings because their fire alarms are not working — and in some cases have been broken since 2005, according to the Orange County Register.

Problems with the alarms were revealed last week by the community college’s student newspaper, El Don. Subsequently the board of the Rancho Santiago Community College District, of which the college is a part, met in emergency session to begin the process of buying a new central alarm system for the campus. In the meantime, the college is seeking parts to repair the existing alarm systems in individual buildings. Repairs are expected to take about a month.

El Don reported that alarms in some buildings had been switched to a “silent” mode, rather than getting needed repairs, and that in the gym alarms were not working and water lines leading to fire hoses had been disconnected. College officials said the general counsel’s office had begun an investigation aimed at finding out who is to blame for the alarm failures.

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But why stop there???

Fire alarms broken at Santa Ana College: Some officials knew of problem for two years.
SANTA ANA - Fire alarms are not working at seven buildings at Santa Ana College as part of a longstanding problem that was known but not addressed, officials confirmed this week.

Until the alarms are fixed, the buildings are on manual "fire watch" during which a security guard manually patrols looking for problems at least once an hour while people are in the buildings.

College trustees were not told about the broken alarms which in some cases date back to 2005 and originally involved as many as 11 buildings, said John Hanna, president of the board of the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which operates the college.

"We're furious about this," Hanna said. "People in management were informed and nothing was done."

The seven buildings on manual fire watch are the Cook Gym, Hammond Hall, Phillips Hall, the Library, and the Administration, Fine Arts, and Security buildings, officials said.

The issue became public this week only after the El Don college newspaper published an investigative story about the system. The district board held an emergency meeting Tuesday night to approve a request for bids for a new alarm system which could take as much as two years to install.

Meanwhile, parts are being sought to fix the antiquated, standalone, bell-type fire alarms and they should all be fixed in about a month, officials said.

"Everything will be functional within the next 20 to 30 days," college President Erlinda Martinez said. "Each building will have 100 percent of its alarms functioning."

Martinez said she only found out about the problem "a few weeks ago" during a meeting of the campus facilities committee.

The problems came to light in 2005 and 2006 inspection reports, but there are no records that anything was ever done with the information. Campus safety officials told the El Don campus newspaper they had reported the problems but repairs were not made.

Minutes from previous facility committee meetings over the last two years do not show any mention of problems with fire alarms, despite written reports about them.

In some cases, problems with the bells ringing caused officials to simply disable them instead of repairing them.

A May 2006 inspection report shows not only rusted and non-working alarms, but also many panels that had dead batteries and other routine maintenance that had not been performed.

The El Don reported that alarms in two buildings had been switched to "silent mode" rather than having been repaired.

The paper also reported that alarms inside Cook Gymnasium, scene of large athletic events attended by hundreds, are not working and its fire hoses were disconnected from water lines.

An investigation by the college's general counsel's office is underway to determine what happened and who is at fault, officials said.

The college had money to make the repairs from hundreds of millions in bond money that the district had acquired for building construction and renovations. Thirty million dollars of that pool was used to build a new sheriff's academy that recently opened.

The problem seemed to have been related to a decision to replace the standalone ringing alarm bells with a new technology that will allow all the buildings to be connected to a central panel in the campus security building.

Instead of repairing broken alarms, campus staff apparently did nothing because of plans to install the new system. However, no bid requests ever went out for the new system until this week, Hanna said.

"It boggles the mind why that wasn't done," Hanna said. "Had someone come and asked us for money to get that done, we would have given it to them."

Santiago Canyon College, also operated by the same district, used deferred maintenance funding to repair its alarm system in 2005 and 2006, Hanna said.

Even in the October facilities meeting in which the issue came to light, Hanna said no mention was made of the broken alarms until a concerned faculty member brought it up.

Martinez said that the college has hired Pyro-Comm of Huntington Beach to make temporary repairs on the standalone system and will seek bids to install a modern system called "Notifier."

It is against state law for classroom buildings to not have working fire alarms.

Santa Ana Fire Marshal Lori Smith said the city is aware of the problem and that the college voluntarily proposed the plan to have a security officer patrol buildings hourly whenever students are present.

"They are under notice to repair the existing system and get it working," Smith said.

Martinez said that college officials are also looking into reports there may be problems with sprinkler systems and water hydrant pressure. "We are following up on everything that was brought up," she said.

But wait! There is more!

Faulty fire alarms at Santa Ana College put thousands at potential risk:
The alarms have been broken since 2005, according to contractor reports. 'Something's rotten, trustee board president said, 'and we're going to find out about it.'
Seven buildings at Santa Ana College, including the administration offices and the library, have faulty fire alarms, placing thousands of students, faculty and staff in potential danger.

The alarms have been broken since at least June 2005, according to reports given to the school at that time by a contractor the college hired. Some have broken handles, others do not ring, and at least one was turned off because it would not stop sounding.

The Rancho Santiago Community College District has hired a law firm to find out why nothing was done for more than two years after reports documented the problems.

"It is an unacceptable practice to compromise the safety of our students or visitors," said Board of Trustees President John Hanna, who called an emergency meeting Tuesday for trustees to pass a resolution to repair the alarms. "Inspectors don't issue reports just for the fun of doing it. Somebody knew about this and made a conscious decision not to do anything about it. Clearly something's rotten in Denmark, and we're going to find out about it."

Inspections completed in 2005 and 2006 revealed widespread problems with the college's 1960s equipment, citing several buildings that lacked working fire alarms.

In some of those cases, campus security would not have known if there were a fire because the system makes noise only in the building where the alarm is pulled and does not alert authorities. The campus security building is one of those where the alarms don't work.

The college district in 2003 earmarked $400,000 in state maintenance funds to go toward replacing Santa Ana's nearly obsolete fire alarm system, but four years later, the overhaul has not been started.

The problems came to the attention of top district officials last month. Short-term repairs approved at the board meeting, expected to cost $68,000, should be completed in about a month. Meanwhile, security guards at the college have started a fire-watch program and hourly are patrolling buildings without alarm coverage. Other buildings without working alarms include the gym, the fine-arts building and the theater.

Three portable classrooms also had broken alarms, but they recently were fixed.

"I'm not sure whether it was a communication thing, a process thing, or an individual person thing," district Chancellor Eddie Hernandez said. "This should not have taken this length of time to solve it. There are plenty of people in retrospect that dropped the ball." Santa Ana Fire Department officials, who annually review the college for fire code violations, do not inspect fire alarms but rely on the college to hire a contractor to ensure they are working.

The college's fire alarms date to about 1966, making replacement parts nearly impossible to find, according to a contractor's report this month.

Officials said the district will replace the old alarm system with one that will notify security staff of fires and include loudspeakers and strobe lights.

It could take as long as two years before the new system, expected to cost between $1.5 and $2 million, is installed.

Santa Ana College President Erlinda Martinez said she did not learn of the broken fire alarms until inspectors brought it to the college's attention again last month. She declined to state which college officials had known about the broken alarms in 2005, saying only that reports about the alarms "didn't rise to the level to where we took action."

Hernandez , the district chancellor, said he was certain some school administrators knew about the problem. "This is a classic case of something falling through the cracks, but safety should come to the top of everyone's list."

Santiago Canyon College, which is part of the same community college district, finished replacing its alarm system in 2005, after two years of construction at a cost of $247,000.

Fire Department Stresses Holiday Safety

Fire Department Stresses Holiday Safety | WEEK News 25 | Local News
The Peoria Fire Department has lit a holiday wreath it wants to keep red.

This is the 15th year for this fire safety campaign. You see, it is up to you to keep the wreath red by practicing fire safety at your home and at work.

For each residential or commercial fire in Peoria from now until January 2, the fire department replaces a red bulb with a white one.

Peoria Fire Department Division Chief Greg Walters said, "That bulb stands out in contrast with the building and it brings up a lot of questions. Why you got white bulbs on there? It gives us that opportunity to talk to the community about fire safety - in general holiday safety."

A white bulb on the wreath signifies a fire with more than $500 damage.

There were 10 white bulbs during the 2006 holiday season.

Mandatory Drug Testing Considered for Boston Firefighters

Mandatory Drug Testing Considered for Boston Firefighters - News
Wow!! What do you think about this???
All Boston firefighters should undergo random drug and alcohol testing and be pushed to get and remain in shape, according to recommendations by a panel formed after two firefighters died in a restaurant blaze, according to a draft copy of the report obtained by the Herald.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino is expected to discuss the 22-page report during a briefing at 10:30 a.m. today at City Hall.

Autopsy reports revealed West Roxbury firefighter Warren Payne had traces of cocaine in his system and Paul Cahill had alcohol in his system, according to officials briefed on the results of the autopsies. Cahill and Payne died battling a fire Aug. 29 at the Tai Ho Chinese restaurant in West Roxbury.

The mandatory drug testing recommendation would have to be negotiated with the city's firefighter's union, which in the past has blocked such testing.

The panel, convened after the autopsy results were made public, wrote that fire department cooperation is crucial.

"We can design the most effective drug and alcohol testing policy imaginable, but it will be worthless if it is not actively supported by the department," they wrote.

Perhaps the most unique recommendation is that a committeee, including union, city and fire officials would be tasked with implementing the seven recommendations.

Firefighters Local 718 president Ed Kelly was unavailable for comment this morning.

The following are the seven recommendations contained in a draft report provided to the Herald:

1. Establishment of a "strategic planning committee" made up of fire department, city and union leadership to implement recommendations

2. Reorganize and augment the fire commissioner's civilian staff so the commissioner has three deputy commissioners focused on administration and finance; planning and organizational development; and labor and management

3. Institution of "accepted management and oversight practices" by the commissioner and fire chief

4. The department should establish a "credentialed professional development academy" program with specific curricula developed for company and chief-level officers

5. The deapartment should offer classes to help department members prepare for promotional exams as a way of nurturing new leaders and promoting a "diverse departmental leadership."

6. Immediate steps should be taken to improve the health, fitness and wellness of Boston firefighters by establishing a "comprehensive health, fitness and wellness program."

7. Random drug and alcohol testing for all Boston Fire personnel in "safety-sensitive positions" from the commissioner to entry-level firefighters.

The panel reviewed the department's policies and procedures dealing with supervision, accountability and "substance abuse and impairment," among other things, according to the report.

Panelists were James M. Channon, president and CEO of the National Fire Protection Association, Dr. Sheila Chapman, Boston Medical Center addiction and medicine professor, and Craig P. Coy, president and CEO of Homeland Security Group.

Thursday, November 29

Ohio House Fire Kills Woman, 3 Children

The Associated Press: Ohio House Fire Kills Woman, 3 Children
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A fire started by a candle swept through a two-story house, killing a woman and three children, fire officials said.

The woman's body was found on the lower level. The children, two girls and a younger boy, were found together in an upstairs hallway, according to fire officials.

"They may have become disoriented and tried to huddle together and tried to get out," said Deputy Fire Chief Luis Santiago.

The fire started around 10 p.m. on Wednesday and was contained within an hour, according to fire officials. Authorities said it appeared there were no smoke detectors in the house.

Neighbor Mike Matzinger, 49, said he was doing dishes when he saw flames shooting out the home's first-floor living room window and ran outside. He tried to break through a steel back door but it was locked and wouldn't budge, so he called to the children, who he thought were upstairs.

Matzinger said he yelled for them to come to the back window so he could catch them, but they never came.

He then ran to the front of the house, where a man who lives there was outside without shoes, screaming, "My kids, my kids, they're in the house." Matzinger told him, "We can't get them out."

The man ran toward the home, where flames and smoke were pouring out the windows, and collapsed as if in shock, Matzinger said. The man was taken away by ambulance, but his condition was not known.

The fire blackened the walls and ceilings of the home, melted its plastic siding and charred its wood frame. It also melted the siding of Matzinger's home a driveway away.

Wednesday, November 28

Fighting Fires With a Pop and Splash

The Associated Press: Fighting Fires With a Pop and Splash
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — William Cleary believes aerial firefighting could become child's play.

Five years ago, his son drenched him with a water balloon — and got him to thinking.

"He was three stories up and I was walking, and he still managed to hit me square in the head," said Cleary, a Boeing engineer. "I thought, why can't we be this accurate with water on fires?"

So he started working on a system to use giant water balloons to put out wildfires.

Now, Cleary has a shared patent, the support of two Fortune 500 companies and a small team of designers and engineers at his disposal on a project that could change the way fires are fought from the air.

The basic concept is simple: Biodegradable plastic balloons four feet in diameter hold 240 gallons of water; they are enclosed in cardboard boxes that are torn open by the wind when pushed out the back of a cargo plane; the balloons burst in midair, making it rain in the desert.

With the use of GPS coordinates and wind-speed calculations, the balloons could be dropped with precision from a safe altitude high above the flames, the developers say.

The balloons — which have yet to be tested on a real wildfire — would be used in addition to the usual aerial firefighting equipment: helicopters with water buckets, and air tankers.

After the inspiration from his son, Cleary started tossing water balloons off a parking garage to study their fall. But his project really took off when a paper he wrote about his concept won a Boeing innovation contest and $100,000 in research and development funding that went with it.

Paper products giant Weyerhaeuser designed the corrugated cardboard container that prevents the balloons from leaking or sloshing around in a plane's cargo hold.

"Our packages are designed to stay together and he was asking me to have this package blow apart — completely backwards from what we're used to doing," said Rick Goddard, Weyerhaeuser's bulk-packaging sales director.

The system has evolved over five years from hard plastic beachball-size balloons to the enormous water bladders made by Flexible Alternatives, a Simi Valley plastics company that also makes the straps that attach to the box lid and pull the balloon apart in midair.

The water balloons could make any plane with a ramp, a cargo bay, and a specialized GPS system into a firefighter. A C-130 cargo plane, which the Air National Guard uses to drop supplies, could fit 16 water balloons, or more than 3,800 gallons of water or fire retardant per trip.

An ordinary firefighting helicopter can hold more than 2,000 gallons of water or fire retardant, while the Forest Service's air tankers can hold 2,700 gallons of liquid in a tank permanently installed on each aircraft.

"This is like calling in the cavalry," Cleary said.

Most important, said Cleary, the planes would drop the water bombs accurately from high above the flames instead of precariously skimming the smoldering hills, the way air tankers do now.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, there were 20 aerial firefighting accidents and 13 fatalities between 2006 and 1996. Cleary said it is easy to convince the pilots who fly these missions that there's a better way.

The system is ready to be tested on a real fire on private land, Goddard said. The government requires extensive testing before new firefighting technology can be used on federal land.

The Forest Service has not yet run the numbers to see if buying thousands of disposable box-and-balloon kits at an initial price of $300 each can save enough money on equipment, manpower and other costs to make the technology worthwhile.

"It costs several millions of dollars to install a tank on an aircraft, and that lasts at least 15 years," said Carl Bambarger, an expert in aerial firefighting with the Forest Service's Technology and Development Center in San Dimas.

Bambarger said Cleary is not the first to come to him with the idea of packaging fire retardant in containers to drop from planes, but he's "the only one who's gotten this far."

While Cleary and Goddard say the cardboard and plastic will naturally break down, the debris could still prove to be an obstacle.

"There's a lot of boxes, plastic bags and lanyards that are going to land in the forest," Bambarger said. "The first person who gets hit by a fluttering piece of cardboard and sues the Forest Service — and we've had sillier things happen — the cost savings is gone."

Newspaper Carrier Alerts Family to Fire

The Associated Press: Newspaper Carrier Alerts Family to Fire

File this under...we don't need no stinkin' smoke detector!
LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (AP) — A family in eastern Tennessee credits a newspaper carrier with saving their lives from a fire that was consuming their log cabin — and they weren't even subscribers.

"I know that woman will be rewarded in heaven one day," Charlene Dunsmore said of the 29-year-old carrier, Carston Jane McKee.

McKee was driving her route for The Knoxville News Sentinel on Saturday morning when she spotted flames on the porch of the Dunsmores' home on a country road. She was about 45 minutes earlier than usual because of an early press run.

McKee called 911 but didn't wait for a response.

"I ran to the log cabin and started beating on the windows," she said. "As soon as the lady opened up the front door, the fire was right next to the door."

Dunsmore, her husband, Shawn, and their 8-year-old son, James Paul "J. P." Dunsmore, fled the house barefoot but unscathed, though their two poodles died in the blaze, which quickly swept through their two-year-old home.

"We can't thank her enough," Shawn Dunsmore's aunt, Mary Ruth Dunsmore, said of McKee. "She went above and beyond. They're alive today because of what she did."

McKee remained at the scene for nearly an hour answering authorities' questions before resuming her paper route.

"It could have been anybody," she said.

Fire service 'could face charges'

BBC NEWS | UK | England | Coventry/Warwickshire | Fire service 'could face charges'
A fire service could be charged with corporate manslaughter over the deaths of four firefighters, police have said.

Ashley Stephens, 20, John Averis, 27, and Darren Yates-Badley, 24, were found dead in the gutted remains of a warehouse in Warwickshire.

Ian Reid, 44, died in hospital following the fire on 2 November.

Police said Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service could face charges and they were "ruling nothing out". The fire service has not commented.

Officers have spent the last four weeks searching the shell of the Atherstone-on-Stour warehouse and are treating the blaze as suspicious.

Cause unknown

At a news conference held on Wednesday morning, Warwickshire Police said a "meticulous" search of the site had not provided clues to the cause of the fire so far.

Asked whether the fire service would face charges, Det Supt Ken Lawrence said: "It is possible. We are exploring every single possibility and ruling nothing out."

He added: "I still don't know what started it. I am erring on the side of caution, treating it as if it was arson, but clearly I would add that I am open-minded about that."

A fire service spokesman told the BBC it "would be inappropriate" to comment while the investigation was ongoing.

Mr Lawrence said initial reports that migrant workers had been sleeping in the warehouse on the night of the blaze were untrue, although it might have happened on previous occasions.

He added that the search of the site could take at least until the end of January.

Police officers are still interviewing warehouse workers and have drawn up a list of 400 people who were on the site in the days running up to the fire, on 2 November.

Ch Supt Paul Mason Brown, in charge of operations at the scene, said the building was still unstable and the safety of those working there was a priority.

He added that an air raid-style siren was being used to warn people of any movement in the warehouse.

Floral tributes have been laid in front of the site.

Feinstein criticizes fire planning for region > News > Metro -- Feinstein criticizes fire planning for region
City and county leaders need to do a better job preparing for the type of firestorms that devastated the region last month, even if that means raising taxes, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said yesterday at a public hearing she chaired at San Diego City Hall.

If changes aren't made quickly, Feinstein warned the result could be “a loss of life on a major scale.”

Feinstein, D-Calif., was joined by Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, and Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego. The federal lawmakers are trying to correct problems that surfaced during the October wildfires.

About a dozen people testified, including San Diego City Council President Scott Peters, county Supervisor Ron Roberts and former San Diego fire chief Jeff Bowman.

The 3½-hour hearing opened with Feinstein criticizing the city and the county. Feinstein said the city doesn't have enough firefighters or fire stations. She said San Diego County is one of the largest in California without a unified fire department.

Peters pointed out that voters have twice refused to pay for more fire protection. Feinstein suggested “the third time might be the charm.”

“I think people now see this is a pattern, and everything they hold dear could go,” she said.

What seemed to trouble Feinstein most was finding out that the fire station in Rancho Bernardo is responsible for protecting 24 square miles. Standards set by the National Fire Protection Association, which accredits departments across the country, say a station shouldn't cover an area larger than 9 square miles.

All of the 365 homes burned in San Diego last month were in Rancho Bernardo. Most were destroyed, which Feinstein said indicates that firefighters didn't get in.

“Obviously, the fire wasn't fought there,” she said.

She asked Peters if an additional fire station in the area would have helped. Peters said the city is trying to answer that question.

At least four stations – in Paradise Hills, Tierrasanta, La Jolla and University City – cover areas larger than 9 square miles, fire officials said.

The National Fire Protection Association has set a five-minute response goal for firefighters. In Rancho Bernardo, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department meets or exceeds that goal 37 percent of the time. Across the city, the department meets or exceeds that mark 47 percent of the time.

In Mission Valley, an area lined with strip malls and office buildings, firefighters have trouble responding to 911 calls within 10 minutes, Fire Chief Tracy Jarman testified.

Some municipalities in the county steer more resources to fire protection than San Diego.

In Escondido, for example, five fire stations cover 50 square miles. In Chula Vista, nine stations defend approximately 52 square miles, although there has been talk of closing one of those stations due to budget concerns.

After the 2003 wildfires, the National Fire Protection Association studied the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department to see if it qualified for accreditation. It didn't.

The city needs at least 20 additional fire stations, the association said. It would cost about $100 million to build and staff the stations, and $40 million a year to run them.

Since the 2003 wildfires, two stations have been built, including a temporary structure at the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot. A third station is expected to open in January in Carmel Valley.

Money, or a lack of it, has been the biggest stumbling block. San Diego is hamstrung by a mountain of debt and other financial problems that have made borrowing money an expensive exercise.

The fire department has a $181 million annual budget, up from $171 million a year ago. If the stations were built, about 240 firefighters would be hired to join the 924 men and women who staff 46 stations.

But that still wouldn't be enough manpower to turn back firestorms like those that burned across the county last month, department spokesman Maurice Luque said.

“It's unfair to put the onus of solving all the fire protection issues on the backs of the city,” Luque said. “This is a regional issue that's going to take state and federal support to resolve.”

Luque said the lack of personnel isn't nearly as worrisome as the lack of fire engines.

“We had firefighters trying to sneak on engines because there weren't enough,” he said.

As much as Feinstein would like to see more resources in the city, she said she's just as concerned about the county's decision not to form a regional fire department.

During the hearing, when Roberts interrupted the senator and said he had a suggestion, Feinstein pointed at him, smiled and took a playful stab.

“Like a county fire department in your district?” she said.

Roberts, chairman of the board of supervisors, has said he is reluctant to focus on that goal because of resistance from several rural fire protection districts.

However, he said he is interested in improving the use of military aircraft, which barely got off the ground during the first two days of last month's fires. He also wants Cal Fire, the state agency, to use more military technology to gauge the direction and magnitude of wildfires. And Roberts said he would like military assets to arrive before the fires start, instead of days afterward.

Roberts also expressed interest in an idea that Bowman, the former fire chief, raised at the hearing. Bowman suggested that the county buy 50 fire engines and spread them among the fire departments.

After the meeting, Roberts said he'll take the first step toward making such a purchase in the next two weeks and ask the board to approve a proposal to review funding options and legal obligations. Roberts said it's possible that federal funding could be used. It's an idea he plans to discuss further with Feinstein.

“It doesn't necessarily hinge on federal funding, but she seems determined to assist in making some changes, and I'm delighted with that,” Roberts said.

Bowman, who resigned 18 months ago as San Diego's fire chief, in part because he couldn't get more resources, reminded Feinstein that the two of them were members of the Blue Ribbon Commission formed after the 2003 wildfires to determine what needed correcting. The commission came up with dozens of recommendations, but several suggestions were only partially implemented or ignored.

One called for adding 150 engines to Cal Fire's fleet. To date, 19 have been ordered.

“This is like déjà vu – we have these meetings, but nothing happens,” Bowman said. “What needs to happen here is action.”

Feinstein thanked Bowman for his candor.

“Now the challenge will be to see whether there is the leadership to take us where we need to be,” she said.

Preparations Before Malibu Fire Hailed

The Associated Press: Preparations Before Malibu Fire Hailed
LOS ANGELES (AP) — When the first flames appeared in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu over Thanksgiving weekend, officials were waiting.

A crew was on the scene within three minutes of the fire's start, and within 15 minutes, six helicopters were up, said Fire Inspector Sam Padilla.

The blaze, which was 97 percent contained Monday, would destroy 53 homes and damage more than 30 others. But officials said the damage could have been worse had it not been for their preparations and a break in the weather.

"All the elements were there for something really bad and catastrophic to happen. We wanted to be better safe than sorry," said Michael Richwine, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The planning for the Thanksgiving winds began more than a week ahead of time, with state, local and federal fire officials meeting to review maps of the projected winds and the moisture levels of vegetation.

Water content in shrubs and trees was below 40 percent — a critical level — and strong winds were forecast to last several days.

Hundreds of firefighters were dispatched to locations across Southern California, with big concentrations in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

By Thanksgiving Day, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection had more than 3,000 additional firefighters in place on 400 engines, 89 firefighting crews and 28 bulldozer crews, Richwine said.

"We do this quite frequently, but this one was just a little bigger than what we've done in the past because of the fuels and the winds," he said.

More than 100 aircraft were also waiting around the region, and more than 350 inmates were deployed to help clear fire lines. The Los Angeles County Fire Department, which took the lead in Malibu, had 100 extra personnel on hand and eight aircraft — two 1,200-gallon SuperScoopers and six helicopters — at the ready, said Padilla.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but authorities have said it was either accidentally or intentionally started by someone.

Fire officials said they wanted to deploy more resources before any potential blazes after last month's firestorm in Southern California that destroyed 2,196 homes and burned 800 square miles.

"The event in late October, we pre-positioned whatever we had and we moved it to Southern California," said Mike Jarvis, a spokesman for the state forestry department. "But if you've got wind of the extreme nature that it was last month, that really restricts what you can do."

The winds in those fires whipped at up to 100 mph — twice as fast as top speeds over Thanksgiving — and lasted days instead of hours.

Because of the lighter winds this time, pilots were able to get up and stomp the flames down early, authorities said.

On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was expected to hold a hearing that will focus on whether more preparations are needed for wildfires.

"We're trying to get a sense of what needs to be done to prepare Southern California for what are going to be increasingly virulent fires," Feinstein said.

Sunday, November 25

Crews gain upper hand on Malibu fire 

UPDATE 1-Crews gain upper hand on Malibu fire | Bonds News |
MALIBU, Calif., Nov 25 (Reuters) - Firefighters gained the upper hand on Sunday against a fierce wildfire that destroyed 49 homes in the exclusive beachside community of Malibu, where residents were allowed to return and assess the damage.

The fire, which officials said was the worst to strike Malibu in 15 years, was the second there in just over a month. It had lost much of its power with dying Santa Ana winds and was 40 percent contained by Sunday afternoon.

The flames no longer threatened homes in the enclave hugging the Pacific Ocean and some firefighters and air support personnel were sent home, though officials said it was too early to declare victory.

"I could say we're in the clear, but anything could happen, said Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Mike Brown.

The blaze erupted early on Saturday, charred 4,720 acres (1,910 hectares) and forced more than 10,000 people to evacuate the community, popular with many of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Tuesday, November 20

Last Moments of FDNY Firefighters Revealed -

Last Moments of FDNY Firefighters Revealed - In The Line Of Duty
NEW YORK-- "Mayday, mayday, mayday! . . . Engine 75, 15 feet in, running out of air."

Veteran FDNY Lt. Howard Carpluk spent his last conscious moments pleading for air and desperately trying to communicate his position after being buried in a floor collapse, says an FDNY report on the tragic Aug. 27, 2006, Bronx blaze that also killed rookie firefighter Michael Reilly.

"You see where the line went in? There's a hole for me to get air - we need a mask toward the back," Carpluk told searchers minutes after his initial "mayday."

A mere four minutes later, he gasped: "Mask. Get it back here. I'm out of air . . Keep coming straight back here, we only need a mask. There's a void for me, come here, you'll see it. All I need is air, bro."

Carpluk, Reilly and eight other firefighters tumbled into a trash-filled abyss while fighting a blaze in a 99-cent store.

According to transcripts of FDNY handie-talkie recordings made at the scene and included in the report, which was obtained by The Post, Reilly was never heard from after the collapse.

But Carpluk, 43, almost immediately began calling for help, calmly and heroically communicating at least a dozen distress calls from 1:01 p.m. until he was found at 1:26 p.m.

Amid the chaotic radio chatter, some of Carpluk's mayday calls went unheard.

"All handie-talkie traffic cease," a Division 6 commander barked in frustration at one point. "Unit with the mayday, go ahead."

Carpluk responded with directions, trying to lead frantically digging firefighters through the harrowing maze.

"75 to Alpha . . . you have to go further back. Mayday, further back," he said.

Later, as his 40 minutes of oxygen ran out, he pleaded with the firefighters that he could hear rummaging around him.

"Come on, see the guy with the line. Forget the water, give me the mask first and turn around and hit it. You go down the left side, 75 mayday, go down the left side. You'll see me sticking out my hand."

Carpluk finally grabbed the leg of a firefighter crawling past him - and got his air mask.

"Save my probie," he urged. "He's underneath me."

The fallen firefighters were hidden beneath a massive air-conditioning unit.

The motion sensors on their bunker gear - designed to beep and flash when a firefighter has not moved in 30 seconds - failed to alert rescuers to their location, the report revealed.

One by one, eight other entombed firefighters were freed.

But Carpluk and Reilly, trapped face down, bent forward from the waist and partially wedged under a splintered girder, were all but unreachable.

By the time Carpluk was freed at 2:15 p.m., he was in cardiac arrest. He died the following day from asphyxia and head trauma.

Reilly, buried for one hour and 40 minutes, died at the scene of asphyxiation due to "compression of the chest," the FDNY said.

The Bronx DA's investigation into the deaths continues. The FDNY report concluded that the engineer hired by building owners in 2000 to repair prior fire damage had illegally removed some support beams from the basement and failed to notice the remaining ones were significantly weakened by decay and termites. The city allowed the engineer to self-certify his work.

Click the link above for more information about this incident.

Thursday, November 15

Burned San Diego Firefighter Describes Cheating Death - Wildland Firefighting

Burned San Diego Firefighter Describes Cheating Death - Wildland Firefighting
A female firefighter critically burned in the Harris fire returns home and recounts the moments when she thought she would die.

Brooke Linman was cared for at the UCSD Burn Center for three and a half weeks before going home -- at one point she was put into a medically induced coma. This week, she went home to her family and daughter in Mira Mesa, though, and she celebrated a birthday.

"When I came home, I told her, 'I know Mom looks a little funny,' " Linman told NBC 7/39. "She said, 'You look perfect to me.' "

Linman's ear is still healing, as is a burn on her face, which, with the help of donor skin, will grow back. Doctors say her badly burned lungs are now 100 percent.

"I'm a work in progress, but I'm healing," said Linman. "I'm better off than I was three weeks ago -- that's for sure."

Linman and her crew were trying to protect a home in the remote East County community of Potrero when they found themselves in trouble. The crew and 15-year-old Richard Varshock took refuge in a fire truck when the windows exploded.

"There was a moment when I thought, 'I cannot believe I'm going to die in this engine right now,' and then something else clicked in: 'You're not. You're getting out of this engine now,' " Linman said.

Linman got out of the truck and soon was trying to put the fire out on her face and get under her emergency shelter. Then she heard Varshock scream.

"We got into my shelter, and I just wanted to calm him down," Linman told NBC 7/39. "He was severely burned. He kept asking me if we were going to die. I said, 'No, were not going to die.' "

At that point, Linman said, she focused on what she has wanted to do since the age of 7 and dressed up as a firefighter: help others.

As she celebrated her 33rd birthday on Tuesday, she was thankful to all those who have helped her.

"I have a new appreciation -- not just for life but for the people in it," Linman said at the party.

She told the well-wishers at the party that she was thankful to be alive.

"Yeah, this was a birthday that almost didn't happen," she said. "It was a special one. It's going to be a good year."

Like most heroes, Linman said she is not a hero, even when pressed about how remarkable she was saving Varshock. She said she was just doing her job. Linman also said that the real heroes are the people at the burn unit who she said never left her side.

Friday, November 9

Tomgram: Mike Davis, Who Really Set the California Fires?

Tomgram: Mike Davis, Who Really Set the California Fires?
You can't have too much of a good thing, so let me just quote Mike Davis from 1998 to introduce Mike Davis 2007 on the California fires. In Ecology of Fear, his 1998 book on southern California, he wrote just about everything you'd ever need to know if you didn't want to be surprised by the raging Santa Ana-driven wildfires of 2003 or 2007. After all, there's nothing new about the burning phenomenon on what Davis then dubbed "the fire coast." "A great Malibu firestorm," he wrote, "could generate the heat of three million barrels of burning oil at a temperature of 2,000 degrees." No wonder Cold War era researchers used those California fires to model the behavior of nuclear firestorms.

What remains eternally new (and yet utterly predictable, once you've read Davis) is the increasing amount of tinder we put in the way of such fires in "the suburban-chaparral border zone where wildfire is king" -- and then the fierce fire-suppression campaigns that new, wealthy homeowners in their privatized, gated communities, McMansions, and McCastles demand, which only build further the fuel for the fires that, even in the 1990s, were "becoming ever more apocalyptic." Oh yes, and another thoroughly predictable thing: After hundreds, or thousands, of houses burn, the search for villains begins not among the politicians and developers, pushing human habitation ever deeper into the lands of the firestorm, but for arsonists, "although probably not more than one in eight blazes is caused by arson." The shape of the shape-shifting arsonist has changed over the years: more or less in historical order, according to Davis, they have been Indians, sheepherders, tramps, Wobblies, Okies, "Axis saboteurs," and, in our own time, environmentalists, (indirectly) endangered and protected species, gays, and terrorists. The search for arsonists is, of course, on again -- and one has so far been identified, a boy, possibly only 10 years old, playing with matches whose case is now being turned over to the district attorney for possible prosecution.

And finally, it's predictable that "the essential land-use issue, the rampant, uncontrolled proliferation of firebelt suburbs," is ignored; while, in the rush to fight the ensuing fires, vast sums of taxpayer money are functionally spent on luxury enclaves and gated hilltop suburbs. As Davis concluded back in 1998, but might as well have written last night, "Needless to say, there is no comparable investment in the fire, toxic, or earthquake safety of inner-city communities. Instead, as in so many things, we tolerate two systems of hazard prevention, separate and unequal."

And the worst of it is that "fire itself accelerates gentrification" in those former wildlands. Charred hillside? All the better to build, my dear…

Read the article San Diego Builds a Statue to an Arsonist:
Developers with Matches
by clicking HERE.

Report Details Calif. Wildfire Drama

SAN DIEGO — Powerful winds were driving flames through the rugged hills along the U.S-Mexico border when Thomas Varshock and his son drove up to a fire engine near the highway and asked for help saving their home.

The fire, just two hours old, was chewing through chaparral west of Potrero, about 40 miles east of San Diego. Varshock told a fire captain there were residents still in a house near his.

The captain told Varshock to obey evacuation orders and get out of area, and the engine set off down the dirt access road toward Varshock's mobile home.

Within an hour, the captain, three firefighters on his team and Varshock's teenage son were severely burned; Varshock was dead.

A preliminary report released Thursday by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection offers the most detailed official account of events that led to a dramatic helicopter rescue.

The report gives the following account:

Varshock and his son followed the firefighters. When their vehicle stalled, the firefighters let them hop into the engine cab.

Firefighters met thick smoke but kept going after Varshock told them there was water and a good place to turn around near his ridgetop home.

Flames licked the side of the fire engine when they arrived at the home, where the living room was already being consumed and attic vents were exhaling smoke.

The fire captain ordered his men to abandon the operation and get back in the engine, but the truck didn't have enough room to back out of a small clearing and stopped running.

The heat blew out the passenger windows of the engine cab. Three firefighters took cover with Varshock's son in a rocky area, where they began sending radio distress calls that alerted helicopter pilots above.

A fourth firefighter ran the other way after being overtaken by wind-driven flames. He was found about 40 minutes later behind another rocky outcropping.

One firefighter remains in a medically induced coma and two others are being treated at UCSD Medical Center in San Diego. The fourth firefighter has gone home.

The body of Varshock, 52, was found next to the fire engine. His son was critically burned and remains at the hospital. Calls to family members were not immediately returned.

The department said it will review how firefighters respond to information provided by residents and how they decide which homes to protect. A final report may take months to complete.

The report did not indicate whether other residents were nearby, as Varshock had told firefighters.

The region's fires directly killed nine people, destroyed about 2,200 homes and burned more than 500,000 acres. Seven other deaths involving evacuees fleeing the blazes have been indirectly linked to the fires.

Also on Thursday, firefighters contained a 2 1/2-week old wildfire in Orange County. The fire, set by an arsonist Oct. 21, burned more than 44 square miles of canyon and forest land and forced thousands from their homes.

A $250,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arsonist.

Wednesday, October 31

The Associated Press: NC Fire Survivor Recounts Narrow Escape

The Associated Press: NC Fire Survivor Recounts Narrow Escape
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Fallon Sposato awoke to a blaring alarm and smoke seeping into the first-floor bedroom of the beach house where she and 12 friends had been partying just hours earlier. With her lungs and eyes burning, she ran with her boyfriend through the smoke-filled house, assuming her friends were already outside.

"And then nobody else was out yet," the 19-year-old University of South Carolina sophomore recalled during an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Seven students died in the blaze. Six others made it out of the house in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., into the arms of neighbors and rescue workers.

"We were all hysterical. They were holding us back, trying to get our friends," said Sposato, a native of Orlando, Fla.

On Tuesday, officials at the University of South Carolina and in Ocean Isle Beach officially identified those killed in the fire: Cassidy Fae Pendley, 18; Lauren Astrid Kristiana Mahon, 18; Justin Michael Anderson, 19; Travis Lane Cale, 19; Allison Walden, 19; William Rhea, 18; and Emily Lauren Yelton, 19.

The group partied into the early morning on the back deck. Sposato said she was the first to go to bed, turning in at 4:30 a.m. after calling her father to say she had lost her camera.

Several hours later, Sposato and her boyfriend, whom she declined to identify, awoke to the alarms, flames and smoke. Called by neighbors who saw the fire, emergency personnel were pulling up when she got out of the house, Sposato said. Several hours later, Sposato would learn her roommate was among the dead.

Another student who made it out of the burning house told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday that he decided to jump into the canal behind the house to escape his smoke-filled upper-floor room.

"You knew you had to jump at some point; that was the only option," Tripp Wylie said on the show.

Thursday, October 18

Fire Prevention Week 2007

NFPA Resources avail.

Be A Home Escape Planning Star! -EDITH

:48 Home escape planning.

FPW Fire Escape

NFPA Vice President of Communications Lorraine Carli narrates as she takes part in the annual Fire Prevention Week fire drill.

Thursday, October 11

Dog Saves Family From Fire Blamed on Cat

GREENVILLE, Maine (AP) — Thumper, a black Labrador retriever, is getting credit for saving a Greenville man when a fire swept through his home.

Roland Cote said his wife and their 7-year-old grandson were away when the blaze started early Sunday in a converted two-story garage. He said Thumper grabbed him by the arm to wake him, leaving just enough time for him to dial 911 before fleeing the fast-moving fire.

While the dog is the hero, a cat is the bad guy in this story.

Cote said the fire marshal investigator believes the blaze was started when Princess, the family cat, tipped over a kerosene lantern. Cote says he and his pets escaped safely, but he says Princess did get her tail singed by the flames.

Check out the video....Not the same story...but close!

Children, 4 and 6, left alone rescued from apartment fire

Two children left home alone were rescued from a burning Joliet apartment Wednesday night by a neighbor who kicked in their door, officials said this morning.

A 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl were treated for smoke inhalation in Provena St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet and released, police said.

Twenty five people, including eight children, living on the fourth and fifth floors were displaced by the fire, which started on a bedroom mattress.

But officials this morning could not say how the fire started. The flames were contained within the apartment.

Gee...what do you think caused this fire???

Monday, October 8

Frightened Mother Returns to Baby Left in Hot Car

Inside Edition - Frightened Mother Returns to Baby Left in Hot Car
"Oh my God! Oh my God!" A frantic mother screams. The woman had just run out of a store realizing she left her 7-month old daughter alone in a hot car. The drama was caught on tape in the parking lot of a Target in suburban Kansas City. The mother is inconsolable as she tells police she was inside the store's pharmacy when she saw police activity out front and realized what was going on. Fortunately for the Kansas City mom, her baby came out of the ordeal ok after being left alone for about thirty minutes.

A tragedy avoided...but the reason I posted this was for the GOOD ADVICE...TO AVOID on....

INSIDE EDITION talks with an expert to find out what parents can do to help keep their children safe. Our expert says something as simple as leaving a stuffed animal in the passengers seat of your car can serve as a reminder, and can make the difference between life and death. The animal serves as a visual cue. It will remind the driver that there is precious cargo in the back seat of the vehicle. It becomes a simple reminder that will hopefully prevent frightening scenes like the one outside of the Kansas City Target store.

Boston mayor demands fire dept. review-Under the influence?

Boston mayor demands fire dept. review - Yahoo! News
BOSTON - When firefighters Paul Cahill and Warren Payne died in a fast-moving restaurant fire in August, they were hailed as heroes — the first Boston firefighters to die in the line of duty since 1999.

But leaked autopsy results that reportedly showed the two may have been impaired have led Mayor Thomas Menino to demand a review of the fire department and prompted calls for more random drug testing of firefighters.

The reports said Cahill had registered a blood alcohol level of 0.27, more than three times the legal limit in Massachusetts, and Payne had traces of cocaine in his system.

Cahill, 55, and Payne, 53, died battling a blaze in a one-story Chinese restaurant in the city's West Roxbury neighborhood.

Click the link above to read the entire story.

Thursday, October 4

Inspections after WTC fire uncover 120 plus violations

Inspections after WTC fire uncover 120 plus violations --
The Fire Department has found dozens of fire hazards at construction sites - including broken water pipes and elevators - in stepped-up inspections following a deadly blaze at a ground zero skyscraper that it hadn't inspected for more than a year.

After visiting hundreds of sites around the city, the department has uncovered more than 120 violations since the Aug. 18 fire at the former Deutsche Bank building. The inspections have caused the city to shut down construction sites at a rate twice as high since the fire, compared with the months before, according to city records.

Some of the sites - close to 500 - are being inspected for the first time, despite city law requiring inspections every 15 days. The lapse in visits to the former Deutsche Bank tower failed to uncover a broken standpipe that supplies water to fire hoses, complicating firefighting efforts in the blaze that killed two firefighters.

Click on the link above for the rest of the story.

Secret Apartment Discovered Inside Shopping Mall

Secret apartment found inside shopping mall
Secret apartment found inside shopping mall

Talk about a void space....Click the picture to view the video or the link to read the story.

Tuesday, October 2

Firefighters Hurt in California Crash

Firefighters Hurt in California Crash - Wildland Firefighting
Thankfully they were all wearing their seat belts!! Here is hoping for a speedy recovery for all of the members involved! Click on the map above to link to a podcast, slideshow and video of the rescue.
BIG BEAR LAKE - A U.S. Forest Service truck plunged off Highway 18 on Monday morning, tumbling nearly 300 feet down a mountainside before splitting in two. Eight firefighters were injured.

The California Highway Patrol is still trying to figure out what caused the 9:50 a.m. accident. They have ruled out speeding and mechanical failure.

The driver lost control of the white crew transport as it rounded a corner near the Arctic Circle, close to Big Bear Dam. The vehicle bounced off the guardrail, causing the driver to stomp on the brakes.

More than 50 feet of wide black skid marks darted off the asphalt where the rig plowed through the rail, rolled onto its side and careened over the hillside.

The impact ripped off the hood, which came to rest on a small ridge just below the highway. The cab split from the chassis as it came down the mountain, stopping upright against a tree.

"It's not fatal, and that's what we're thankful for," said Tracey Martinez, spokeswoman for San Bernardino County Fire Department. "They're extremely lucky and very blessed they didn't receive major, major injuries."

Two firefighters initially listed in serious condition were flown to Loma Linda University and Arrowhead Regional medical centers.

One, who dislocated his shoulder, was sent home late Monday. The other, who suffered a dislocated pelvis, was expected to spend the night in the hospital.

Six firefighters, including the driver, received minor injuries and were taken to Bear Valley Community Hospital. They were trying to help the CHP piece together what happened.

The Heaps Peak crew, firefighters who rappel from a helicopter, was driving east on the 18 for their morning briefing when the vehicle went off the road, said Forest Service spokesman John Miller.

Firefighters hesitating to risk lives

Firefighters hesitating to risk lives - U.S. Life - Officials growing reluctant to risk lives for homes owners haven't protected
SALT LAKE CITY - Fueled by drought and development, wildfires in the West are getting bigger and more aggressive, creating conditions so dangerous that fire bosses are increasingly reluctant to risk lives saving houses — particularly if the owners have done nothing to protect their property.

From Southern California to Montana, seven firefighters have died this year battling blazes that have destroyed more than 400 houses — a dramatic increase from last year.

“There’s the frustration of knowing these people aren’t taking care of their home, and why do we have to do it?” said John Watson, a Fairfield, Mont., firefighting contractor who uses a 750-gallon fire engine to protect remote houses. “I’ve asked them, ‘Do you understand the danger?’ There isn’t a whole lot that needs to be done to mitigate the threat, but they won’t do it. They say: ‘I’d rather have my cabin burn down with the trees than have you cut some down.”’

Fire commanders say they are more likely to walk away from houses without a buffer zone, which can be as simple as raking debris from around a house and leaving a bed of gravel at the foundation, or putting metal roofs on their homes instead of flammable wood shakes.

Until recently, firefighters “saluted and went out and did it,” said Don Smurthwaite, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman and former firefighter. Now, “we will not ask a fire crew in a dangerous fire to defend a structure that has not taken precautionary steps. That’s definitely a change.”

Read the rest of the article by clicking the link above. It is very interesting!

"Supernanny" Kid Sets Fire to Home

"Supernanny" Kid Sets Fire to Home -
News flash! Reality TV shows won't solve every crisis! One family found out the hard way, when their wacky kid set fire to the family home -- after appearing on the TV show "Supernanny." Burn!

The fire appears to have been started by 3-year-old Joel while he was home with mother Susan, and his siblings were in school. Damage to the home was so severe that the family was forced to move into a hotel. Is "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" casting?!

The fire apparently started in the kitchen. As his mother attempted to put the fire out, "the little boy went through the dining room and set fire to the curtains," reports the Daily Mail.

Monday, October 1

Flag-hydrant to be reinstalled at dog park

Flag-hydrant to be reinstalled at dog park - Animal Peculiarity -
Seriously....they removed it. 'Cause dogs might urinate on it. And will now reinstall it. Tax dollars at work!
HILLSBORO, Ore. - The flag-painted fire hydrant that was removed because critics thought dogs would disrespectfully urinate on it is being reinstalled, but with a fence to keep the pooches away.


Wednesday, September 26

The "Man Rules" ...for Women

For your Learning Pleasure. Submitted by a caring student:

At last a guy has taken the time to write this all down Finally , the guys' side of the story. ( I must admit, it's pretty good.) We always hear "The Rules" from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side.

Please note.. these are all numbered "1 " ON PURPOSE!

1. Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down.
We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do.
Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one

1. You can either ask us to do something Or tell us how you want it done.
Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials..

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," We will act like nothing's wrong.
We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, Expect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really .

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball or golf.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!

1. Thank you for reading this.
Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping!

Pennsylvania Fire Companies Struggle to Find Recruits

Pennsylvania Fire Companies Struggle to Find Recruits - News
What do you think about this???
Finding new recruits for local volunteer fire departments is becoming a big problem.

Without enough volunteers, neighborhoods may be forced to pay firefighters to keep residents safe.

"I think it's going to come to the point where you're going to see some paid staff in township companies, backed up by the volunteers," North Hempfield Fire Chief Ralph Stoup said. "I would love to see it stay volunteer, but unless we get the people, I don't see that happening. The firemen are going to become a dying breed."

Click the link above for the whole story.

Saturday, September 22

Battle at Kruger

A battle between a pride of lions, a herd of buffalo, and 2 crocodiles at a watering hole in South Africa's Kruger National Park while on safari. This is pretty incredible ...and I know there is a lesson in it somewhere. In the meantime... stay with it...this is good!

Thursday, September 20

Spiders on Drugs

Here's a clip from the old documentary series called Hinterland's Who's Who. In this piece, the show the results of spiders taking drugs. Just say no, no, no!!!

OSHA Cites Fire Department: Three Serious Violations

ABC News 4 Charleston - OSHA Cites Fire Department: Three Serious Violations
State officials have handed the Charleston Fire Department four citations for violating firefighter safety.

The state Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the department for one willful violation involving firefighter safety and three serious violations for firefighters on the scene not wearing full protective gear.

OSHA's report on the June 18th fire at the Sofa Super Store was released Thursday.

The Sofa Super Store was also cited for locked or improperly working exit and fire doors.

Nine firefighters died in the blaze. OSHA officials say the violations will result in monetary fines.

7 Injured, One Critically, In N.J. High-Rise Apartment Blaze

7 Injured, One Critically, In N.J. Apartment Blaze - News Story - WNBC | New York
ASBURY PARK, N.J. -- A fire broke out Thursday in a 15-story apartment building, injuring seven people and temporarily trapping several others on balconies, the city's fire department said.

All seven who were injured, including one critically, suffered smoke inhalation.

The blaze, the cause of which is not known, began around 11:20 a.m. in a cluttered 14th story apartment of the Monroe Towers. The fire forced those living in the top three floors to flee, said Garrett Giberson, an Asbury Park fire inspector.

The apartment's occupant, Sunovia Williams, 80, was pulled out by firefighters who had to crawl over an array of debris that contributed to the intensity of the blaze and hampered efforts to reach her and her husband, Giberson said.

A juvenile, whose age was not immediately available, and five firefighters also suffered smoke inhalation.

The building is one of the tallest buildings in Asbury Park, a community along the Atlantic Ocean. The blaze was initially too high for ladder trucks, forcing firefighters to fight the flames from inside, Asbury Park fire Capt. Frank Dilello said. He wasn't sure if the building had sprinklers, but said there were hose hookups inside.

Tape Catches Woman's Fury At Man In Chimney

Tape Catches Woman's Fury At Man In Chimney - News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh
Another amazing rescue....but you've really gotta see the video!!!
Santa Claus he's not, but it didn't stop Alejandro Valencio from trying to surprise the woman he called his girlfriend.

Valencio, according to the Evansville Courier & Press, got wedged inside the chimney of a home being rented by Connie Deweese at 3:30 a.m.

"I've dated a lot of psychos in my life, but nobody like that," Deweese told the newspaper.

Firefighters requested assistance from the police because they said Deweese was blocking the fireplace, wanting to protect the bricks.

"I told them to leave him in the chimney and let him die," she told the Courier & Press.

After the rescue, she said she went back to bed and later awoke to find the man back at the home.

"I beat his (butt) and told him to get out," she told the paper.

She forced him out the front door, screaming and throwing beer bottles at him.

900-pound man removed from home

900-pound man removed from home - U.S. News -
One of those calls where a little compassion-and creative rescue skills- comes in handy! (But did they have to cover his face?)
LANSING, Mich. - Firefighters cut a hole in the side of a house and used a forklift to extricate a 900-pound man from his second-floor bedroom after a visiting nurse became worried about his health.

Rescue workers were called in Tuesday by the nurse, who determined the 33-year-old man needed medical help, Fire Chief Tom Cochran said.

Cochran said the man had not left his home since 2003.

The man’s brother, who lives with him, said he suffers from Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that creates a chronic feeling of hunger that can lead to overeating and life-threatening obesity.

Rescue workers brought in a forklift, high enough to raise a platform to a hole cut into the wall of the house. They covered the man with a blue tarp to shield him from onlookers and slid the platform onto a flatbed truck for a trip to Sparrow Hospital.

Wednesday, September 19

Simple Man

What did you do with your summer vacation? (and what are your plans for next summer?)
This could be you!!! Good music, nice photos. 6:13. Enjoy!

Fire Truck Going Out For A Spin (1990)

From a local news program back in 1990 of a snowstorm that made the roads so slick that even emergency vehicles were creating emergencies of their own.

Los Angeles Captain Injured Responding

Los Angeles Captain Injured Responding - News
Gotta watch that first's a doozy!!! (Note: The video is of a DIFFERENT firefighter falling off a rig...not our LAFD Capt....I just thought I would add a visual-for amusement purposes only.) Best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to our unnamed LAFD Capt....and to the poor guy in this video that ended up on YouTube!
A Los Angeles Fire Department captain suffered moderate injuries when he missed a step while getting out of a fire truck while responding to a blaze at a South Los Angeles apartment building Tuesday.

Firefighters were sent to the 8700 block of Figueroa Street, near Manchester Avenue, at 4:35 p.m. where heavy smoke and fire were showing from the second floor of a six-unit garden-style apartment, said Diana Igawa of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The captain, whose name was not released, received moderate injuries when he fell, Igawa said. He was taken to a hospital where he was being treated and evaluated, she said.

Saturday, September 15

Four injured in fire at Festival

Four injured in fire at ACL Festival | News for Austin, Texas | | Local News
Four people were injured in a fire at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park.

It is believed a propane tank near a camper for staff members exploded around 2:30 Friday afternoon, and the flames spread to a food trailer in a beverage area.

EMS officials say four people were burned, two with life-threatening injuries. All four were taken to Brackenridge Hospital. The two critically injured patients were later flown to the burn unit at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Thick black smoke billowed hundreds of feet into the air and could be seen for miles from the park.

No word yet on what caused the fire.

The music continued on all the stages, and officials say the general public was never in danger.

KVUE meteorologist Mark Murray was on the scene and says that the public didn't panic.

"It was very calm, very orderly. In fact, people continued to come into the park," said Murray. "A small area near the fire was roped off."

Tuesday, September 11

The Station nightclub fire

The Station Nightclub Fire on the evening of Thursday, February 20, 2003, was the fourth-deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, killing 100 people and injuring more than 200. Ninety-six perished on the night of the fire, and four died later from their injuries at local hospitals. The Station, which regularly hosted glam metal and '80s rock bands, was a nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island.The fire started about 11:08 PM, just seconds into headlining band Great White's opening song "Desert Moon", when pyrotechnics set off by their tour manager, Daniel Biechele, lit flammable soundproofing foam behind the stage. The flames were first thought to be part of the act; only as the fire reached the ceiling and smoke began to billow did people realize it was uncontrolled. Only 20 seconds after the pyrotechnics ended, the band stopped playing, and lead singer, Jack Russell, remarked into the microphone, "Wow... this ain't good." In less than a minute, the entire stage was engulfed in flames. Although there were four possible exits, most people naturally headed for the door through which they entered. The ensuing stampede in the inferno led to a crush in the hallway leading to that main entrance, eventually blocking it completely and resulting in numerous deaths and injuries among the patrons and staff, who numbered somewhat more than 404, the highest of three conflicting official capacity limits. Of those in attendance, roughly one quarter died (either from burns or smoke inhalation), and half were injured. Among those who perished in the fire was Great White's lead guitarist, Ty Longley.

The pyrotechnics were gerbs, cylindrical devices intended to produce a controlled spray of sparks. Gerbs are labeled using two numbers: one for how far the sparks fly and one for how long the effect lasts. Biechele was fond of using 15 by 15's, which spray sparks 15 feet for 15 seconds. Three of that same caliber, at 45-degree angles, with the middle one pointing straight up, were the kind used that night. Gerbs are considered appropriate for indoor use before a nearby audience when proper precautions are observed.

An NIST investigation of the fire, using computer simulations and a mock-up of the stage area and dance floor, concluded that a sprinkler system would have successfully contained the fire enough to give everyone time to get out safely. However, due to its age (built in the late 1930s) and size (4,484 square feet (404 m²)), the Station was believed by many to be exempt from sprinkler system requirements. In actuality, it had undergone an occupancy change when it was converted from a restaurant to a nightclub. This change dissolved its exemption from the law, a fact that West Warwick fire inspectors never noticed. On the night in question, the Station was legally required to have a sprinkler system, but did not.

Also the blueprints show that the entryway to the nightclub had a ramp which blocked off a straight exitway through the door. When exiting the building, one would have to exit either right or left because the building was constructed to lead two entry ways with the handrail running parallel with the building.

The events that occurred during the fire were caught on videotape by cameraman Brian Butler for WPRI-TV of Providence and the beginning of it was released to national news stations. Later, the video would circulate via file sharing online. He was there, ironically, for a planned piece on nightclub safety being reported by Jeffrey Derderian, a WPRI news reporter who is also a part-owner of The Station. WPRI-TV would be cited for an ethics violation for having a reporter do a report concerning his own property. The report had been inspired by the Chicago nightclub stampede that had claimed 21 lives only four days earlier.